Roti time for Balkasar bears
Food brings so much enjoyment to the 37 bears at our Balkasar sanctuary in Pakistan.
And giving them special treats is also fun for our partner the Bioresearch Resource Research Centre (BRC) team who run the sanctuary. Here’s close up look at ‘roti time’ …
Tero rises to his feet as he picks up the scent of the roti being cooked by sanctuary helper Hazrat Hussain. Roti is basically a delicious flat bread made out of organic wheat from the Rajanpur area of the Punjab and filled with different grains, meat, powdered milk seeds, lentils, and special vitamin supplements. As it cooks on the hot griddle the smell wafts out through sanctuary tantalising both human and bear noses.
Hazrat (right), helped by Gohar (left) put the roti in the wheel barrow to make their delivery
The bears are given roti as a treat every day at 4:00pm. It complements their main diet of fruit, vegetables and other foods which are grown both at Balkasar and in the surrounding villages. In their previous lives when they were used for baiting and dancing the bears had very poor diets. So, as well as enduring terrible wounds from baiting, they suffered from problems like blindness, caused by malnutrition.
Prompted by the sound of the wheel barrow and the delicious smell, the bears head determinedly to the fence from all over the seven-hectare enclosure. Balkasar prepares 300 rotis a day. Balkasar staff eat rotis too, but theirs is cooked in a separate kitchen and is a typical flatbread made of salt, flour and oil. It’s eaten with their soups and curries.
Gohar enthusiastically throws the roti over the fence. He has been working at Balkasar for several months and loves his job. “The best thing about my work is that I am feeding the most beautiful creature on earth,” he says. The Balkasar bears eat around 80 kilogrammes of food a day.
Reech is delighted to be one of the first to get a roti. He is 19 years old and was used for baiting for almost six years. Thankfully, we convinced his owner to hand him over to us and Reech joined Balkasar in 2012. His previous owner is part of our alternative livelihood scheme. Since 1997 by working with BRC we have convinced 61 owners to hand over their bears. Your support has helped us run our alternative livelihood scheme since 2008.
Thank you for caring for Balkasar’s wonderful bears!
To help give comfort and joy this holiday season, find out how you can help feed a hungry bear and give them the best life possible with our World Animal Gifts.
For more information on bear-baiting and how you can help put an end to this cruel practice, visit our Wildlife page.